Miss Aldridge Regrets is engaging and intriguing historical murder mystery with many layers and perfect setting.
Miss Aldridge Regrets by Louise Hare
Publication Date : July 5th 2022
Publisher : Berkley Books
Genre : Historical Fiction / Mystery
Pages : 368
Tea For this Book : A liitle bit of, Ginger Honey + Black
Discalimer – Many thanks to Berkley for eARC via NetGalley.
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Would make Agatha Christie proud… Irresistible and smart.
–Fiona Davis, New York Times bestselling author of The Magnolia Palace
Named A Most Anticipated Mystery of Summer by Betches, Essence, Crime Reads and more!
The glittering RMS Queen Mary. A nightclub singer on the run. An aristocratic family with secrets worth killing for.
London, 1936. Lena Aldridge wonders if life has passed her by. The dazzling theatre career she hoped for hasn’t worked out. Instead, she’s stuck singing in a sticky-floored basement club in Soho, and her married lover has just left her. But Lena has always had a complicated life, one shrouded in mystery as a mixed-race girl passing for white in a city unforgiving of her true racial heritage.
She’s feeling utterly hopeless until a stranger offers her the chance of a lifetime: a starring role on Broadway and a first-class ticket on the Queen Mary bound for New York. After a murder at the club, the timing couldn’t be better, and Lena jumps at the chance to escape England. But death follows her onboard when an obscenely wealthy family draws her into their fold just as one among them is killed in a chillingly familiar way. As Lena navigates the Abernathy’s increasingly bizarre family dynamic, she realizes that her greatest performance won’t be for an audience, but for her life.
With seductive glamor, simmering family drama, and dizzying twists, Louise Hare makes her beguiling US debut.
Miss Aldridge Regrets is engaging historical crime mystery that revolves around Lena Aldridge, a showgirl in London Soho, who finds herself amid murders and drama of upper class family when she has to leave London after the murder of her best friend’s husband and owner of the club she worked at. The story is about class differences, social and ethnic culture in early 20th century, prejudice, betrayal, racism, dysfunctional family, and survival.
Miss Aldridge Regrets is told in first person narrative from Lena’s perspective. In the beginning and occasional killer’s perspective made the story intriguing. The plot is filled with glamor, mystery and drama that take place mostly on the ship, RMS Queen Mary while all the backstories of characters take place in London that mostly includes what happened in Lena’s life a week ago and how that influences her to take role on Broadway and board the ship to NY.
Characters are as interesting and mysterious as plot. I liked Lena most. She is biracial black woman who is strong, brave, loyal and fighter who knows how to take care of herself but taking care of ill father, then coping with his death, guilt of her friend’s marital issues and then death of the same friend’s husband that might cause her jail, no job or money, slowly is chipping away her confidence and courage. A sudden job offer, new beginning in different country miles aways from all pain and fears gave a little bit hope but when murder follows her on the ship too. Her doubts, actions and reactions are realistic. I liked how resilient, careful and vigilant she is. She didn’t try to play amateur detective that makes this different from other historical mysteries.
We see many layers of her through her present and past life. Her back story is touching. I enjoyed reading her relationship with her father and best friend, Meggy. Meggy and Lena’s bond is more like sisters and I felt for both of them who are going through tough time. Meggy’s life, abusive marriage, and cheating coward husband show the vulnerability of women in that time and extreme steps women have to take to have control, comfort and safety.
I didn’t like Charlie. He sounded fishy from the beginning and his behavior changed from helping fixer doing his job to controlling man who kept pushing Lena to engage with Abernathy family. I admired Lena for avoiding his insults and his mean questioning.
Abernathy family is even worse. This is highly dysfunctional family and when the patriarch of family is murdered we see more of their flaws and their secrets. I hated males of Abernathy family most. I still don’t know what to think of females of the family. Apart from Lena and Charlie there are other two characters on Abernathy table- Daisy and Dr. Wilding. Daisy is naive and unreliable while Dr. Wilding is only one I liked after Lena.
I loved layers in the story and the setting of Queen Mary that added its own layer too. Description of the ship was amazing. We see the class differences on the ship, how the floors was divided in classes, some people were allowed to explore certain levels while some were not, and how staff also behaved as per the class they dealt with was interesting to read. We also read the struggle of working class family, life in Soho through Lena’s past and prejudice of higher class through secondary characters and Abernathy family.
Romance is not at the center of the book and there isn’t much chemistry but I liked the connection between Lena and Will and how she could have someone to talk to and rely on. It’s not happily ever after which is good and I liked author kept relationship between them realistic and focusing plot on Lena’s life and mystery of murders.
Mystery is most interesting, well written filled with red herring. Climax is tense with anticipation of another murder and Lena in danger, risk she was taking by attending that last dinner. What came next is partially expected as I knew it’s not one person job and partially surprising because I couldn’t guess the killer until this point. I’m also disappointed with the reasons motive of whole game. It didn’t make sense the way the killer changed thoughts and decisions which makes the end weird, implausible and questioning the morals and ethics that’s why it’s a 4 star from me. However, I could agree on one thing one has to put their own survival first when caught in situation like this so I don’t mind Lena’s decision in the end.
Overall, Miss Aldridge Regrets is intriguing, well written and fun historical murder mystery with many layers and perfect setting.
I recommend if you like,
Book taking place on ship
Social and ethnic culture in early 20th century
Theme of prejudice, class difference, survival
Enjoyable and unpredictable mystery
Drama of dysfunctional family
Biracial main character
Glitz, glamour, and reality of Broadway world
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